If the thrill of entrepreneurship is currently coursing through your veins, odds are high that you’re always on the hunt for a new business model that aligns nicely with the lifestyle you’re looking to build for yourself.
Whether it be an online business that sells digital products and services or one of a more traditional brick-and-mortar nature, entrepreneurship comes in all shapes and sizes. Simply put, the more creative, the better.
In fact, in recent years, an entirely new kind of money-making entity has appeared, making its wholehearted embracers millions of dollars in the process. What is it exactly? Subscription box businesses—or subscription e-commerce, as it’s also commonly known. Ever heard of Dollar Shave Club? Yup, you guessed it—that’s a subscription box business.
Basically, people take to the Internet, learn of a brand’s unique box-based offer and sign up for a subscription of some sort to have said box regularly delivered right to their doorstep. From disposable razors to makeup and beauty products, subscription box businesses are taking the world of e-commerce entrepreneurship by storm.
Box Businesses and Instagram—a Match Made In Heaven
Here at Kickstagram, we’ve been following the trend for quite some time and have noticed one specific digital marketing tool nearly all successful subscription box businesses use to promote their one-of-a-kind offerings—Instagram.
Shouldn’t come as much of a shocker—after all, this is our bread and butter. But seriously, there’s something to all of this Instagram marketing madness for subscription box businesses. Need some evidence? No worries—from what we’ve seen, the following two box-based subscription businesses are dominating Instagram:
1) Blue Apron
Blue Apron is subscription box business with a single goal in mind—to make cooking “fun and easy.” Once services have been purchased, Blue Apron delivers a box filled with the ingredients and step-by-step photo instructions to prepare and serve three delicious meals every week.
The company offers plans to serve up enough weekly food to handle families of two, four and six people. Whether you enjoy meat and fish or are a strict vegetarian, there’s a meal plan that’s right for you and your family.
Not a bad idea, right? Unfortunately, a great idea isn’t good enough to make a sustainable profit in today’s competitive day and age. Because of this, Blue Apron uses its Instagram account to hone in on something most Instagrammers can’t get enough of—food.
Be truthful—you too have taken a picture of a meal you’ve prepared by yourself and shared it on Instagram. Nobody can fault you—it’s fun to do. As such, Blue Apron has grabbed ahold of this social tendency and is using it to the company’s advantage.
Once ingredients have been delivered and a healthy meal prepared, brand fans snap a picture of their culinary creation and post it to Instagram to show off what they’ve done. Even better, the majority of customers add the #BlueApron to their posts to increase exposure. For Blue Apron, the results have been nothing short of jaw-dropping.
Though cats might’ve already staked their claim on the Internet, there’s no denying the special bond that exists between a person and their pooch. Dogs are friendly, lovable and loyal to the max. Allergies and the occasional in-house accident aside, what’s not to love?
At least, this is what Matt Meeker, Henrik Werdelin and Carly Strife thought back in 2011 when they founded BarkBox. Based in New York, BarkBox is a monthly provider of dog-themed goods for over 200,000 subscribers. Each month, dog lovers from all over receive a box filled with treats and toys for their furry friends.
Sure, when your staple service is built around the cute and cuddly, it’s much easier to connect with people, but that doesn’t mean BarkBox’s Instagram genius is any less impressive. Similar to Blue Apron, when customers receive their pet’s goodies in the mail, they take a quick picture and post it on Instagram.
It’s a simple strategy, but it’s one that’s worked wonders for BarkBox. Not only does this subscription box business now have its own verified Instagram account, but more importantly, it has over one million engaged followers to go along with it. They love BarkBox’s posts and regularly share them, exponentially growing BarkBox’s social reach in the process.
Why Instagram Marketing Works for Box Businesses
So, why does Instagram work so nicely for subscription box businesses? What’s the secret sauce in which they’re smothering they’re posts? To be completely honest, the answer isn’t all that shocking—emotional connection. That’s all there is to it.
For any e-commerce business looking to make a splash out on the market, the key is to have customers taking pride in their purchases. When they feel a genuine sense of accomplishment through having used your products and services, they’ll carry the bulk of the social media marketing load for you.
As luck would have it, Instagram just so happens to be the perfect portal through which this kind of user-generated promotional work takes place. But what about you? You’re an entrepreneur, right?
How can you use Instagram to make the most of your subscription box business? Though by no means a comprehensive list, the suggestions below should be enough to point you in the right direction:
- Packaged Card Placement – In each shipped box, include an attractive card with your brand’s Instagram handle and instructions on how to post a photo to Instagram with a branded, campaign-specific hashtag.
- Incentives – Whether it be through the box you send regularly or on Instagram, incentivize your customers to interact with your company on Instagram. To do this, offer monthly draws where an active Instagram follower is chosen at random and receives awesome gear or discounted products and services as the winner.
- Homepage Promotion – Work with your business’ web designer to display Instagram photos directly on your homepage. By so doing, you show site visitors how popular your products and services are, while also inviting them to join in on the fun and follow you on Instagram.
Remember, this isn’t the extent of what you can do to use an Instagram account to boost your subscription box business, but it’s a good start. Focused on helping build an emotional connection between your customers and the boxes you send them on a weekly or monthly basis, your Instagram account will most assuredly start to grow and receive more engagement than you ever thought possible.
Blue Apron and BarkBox are two of many examples of stellar subscription box businesses that routinely use Instagram to connect with customers, drive traffic and generate real, quantifiable leads. As an entrepreneur, if you’re hoping to do the same, Instagram will without a doubt need to become a part of your company’s future.
But now for what matters most—what are your thoughts? Regardless of whether or not you own a subscription box business, how do you see Instagram becoming a part of your overall digital marketing strategy? What, if anything, have you learned from Blue Apron and Bark Box? As always, share your thoughts in the comments section below!